Superintendent's Message

Happy New Year… and welcome to 2015!  Unbelievably, we have completed nearly half of the school year.   As the calendar rolls over, I always like to reflect on the past year and celebrate the accomplishments of our students and staff here at Grant Park School District #6.   As I look back at 2014, I can only describe it as “fantastic” and “amazing.”  Here are only some of the positive accomplishments/events that occurred:

  • Grant Park High School was awarded as an “Illinois Honor Roll School” for academic achievement.  The prestigious award was bestowed by the Illinois State Board of Education.  A banner now hangs in our gymnasium which symbolizes our commitment to student achievement (along with banners signifying our extracurricular achievements as well).

  • Grant Park Elementary and Middle School students continued their dominant academic performance on the ISAT and were once again identified as a “top tier” school in comparative rankings.  Language Arts, Math, and Science composite scores were all well above state averages.   This is the third consecutive year of achieving high assessment scores. 

  • Grant Park High School witnessed its highest ACT composite in recent history, as our students averaged 22.3 (compared to a state average of 20).  College Readiness scores also witnessed continued growth.   As a result, Grant Park High School was ranked a “Top 50” high school in the state of Illinois. 

  • AP Classes were added to the curricular offerings at GPHS (2014 & 2015). 

  • Many extracurricular accomplishments were witnessed, including a MS baseball trip to the state tournament, another HS conference and regional title in volleyball, a state appearance for our MS volleyball girls, and HS wrestling, soccer, baseball, and softball teams that competed for conference and regional championships.  Also, our 8th grade Chess Team captured 4th place at the state tournament and will begin its inaugural season at the HS level in 2015.  It’s good to be a Dragon these days!

  • A fine arts program that was recognized as being one of the best in the state!  Our gifted musicians received the 2014 Runner-Up at the State Music Sweepstakes.  This marked four consecutive years that GPHS has placed at the Sweepstakes (winning it all in 2011)!  In addition, three of our students were asked to perform the National Anthem at the School Board Conference.  The crowd of nearly 2,000 provided a standing ovation!  Grant Park #6 is officially on the map!

  • Our drama department continued to demonstrate excellence with phenomenal performances.  In the Spring of 2014, the HS put on the Music Man!  This past fall witnessed the MS performing Wagon Wheels West!  As always, both productions did not disappoint and drew large crowds. 

  • A new Fitness Facility was discussed, designed, and erected.  An Opening Ceremony was conducted this September and our students/community are benefiting from this endeavor. Our Fitness Facility, coined the “Dragons Pit” by the student body, is considered one of the finest in the state for a Class A school.   The facility was erected without utilizing revenues from the Education Fund.  A great group of staff members, community members, board members, administrators, and students made this dream become a reality. 

  • Mr. Dave Dickson, Grant Park School Board President, was named Outstanding School Board President for the entire state of Illinois.  The award is based on district achievements and Board Leadership.    Grant Park Board members continue to demonstrate their dedication, completing all training requirements.  District #6 board member Mr. Dale Hansen continues to serve in the prestigious position of Treasurer for the Illinois Association of School Boards. 

  • After a year of discussion and planning, a new webpage was designed and launched prior to the start of the school year.  Two learning labs were replaced with updated computers.  A 1:1 “Chrome Initiative” began with our fifth grade students.  

  • Numerous safety and building improvements were completed during the Summer of 2014.  New cameras were installed in the MS/HS hallways and a safety corridor was erected at the High School entrance.  The elementary school, thanks to our very generous PTO and Boosters, erected a new sign.  New curbing was installed, sections of the HS parking lot were repaved, restrooms were restored/updated, and the ES circle drive was resurfaced.  The cleanliness and appearance of our facilities have been complimented by community members as well as visitors.  Three separate grants were secured to offset the costs of these projects. 

  • Despite fiscal instability at the state level and difficult economic times, District #6 remained committed to a balanced budget and was awarded (for the third consecutive year) “Financial Recognition Status” from the State Board of Education.  This is the highest ranking provided from ISBE and demonstrates fiscal stability for District #6. 

  • District #6 refinanced bonds, providing an estimated $170,000 savings to the local taxpayers in Grant Park School District. 

Although this is just a sample of 2014 accomplishments, I am so proud to be associated and leading Grant Park School District #6.     As a staff, we continue to emphasize “Excellence in Everything We Do-  The GP Way.”  As for the future, we will continue to work to ensure that our students are provided the opportunity to have a solid educational experience.   I wish you and your family the best of the New Year. 

Dr. John Palan
Superintendent, Grant Park #6

John Palan